Following his 49-for-50 performance in 2008, the FiveThirtyEight data pollster correctly predicted the results of the presidential election in all 50 states in 2012 – in many cases predicting the margin of victory as well as nearly all Senate races. While this may be a cool trick in election years, what Nate Silver’s accuracy represents means businesses the world over should be rethinking how assumptions and intuition can now be verified at scale.
According to a new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, evidence is mounting of social networking forums reaching more young children, even though research on the media habits of tweens and pretweens is scarce and highly fragmented. The report cites abundant research into the media use of teens. Unsurprisingly, they’re heavy and frequent social media users. The report’s authors state that it is a mistake to equate the online and social media activities of children under 13 with that of teenagers. For children under nine, speculation is that their social media use occurs not on commonly known sites, such as Facebook, but rather on games, video-sharing sites and other nontraditional yet highly social online forums.
YouTube Re-Ups on Original Content, Kinda
In an effort to bring more produced content to its platform, last year YouTube laid out $100 million to partners to create video – an effort called “Channels.” Funded Channels featured programming from Jay Z, Tony Hawk and Madonna. This year, the video juggernaut is reinvesting cash with the same aim – but with a fraction of the partners, eliminating more than 60%. YouTube’s global head of content suggested this is a way to optimize and identify “channels that are delivering the best return on our investment.” This begs the question: Is it a pivot of a failed push for semi-pro content? Stay tuned to find out.
Online Viewers Start Leaving if Video Doesn’t Play in 2 Seconds
A recent study shows that users will begin abandoning an online video after two seconds if the video isn’t loading. With each second of delay that passes, 6% more users give up on watching. The study points to faster Internet connections as the cause of this growth in impatience and points out that users are slightly more patient for long-length videos than they are for short videos. An interesting find: users are more patient when viewing videos on their mobile devices.
Acting as both on-the-scene reporter and supplier of big-picture context, Twitter was briefly transformed from a network of self-indulgence, self-promotion and sarcastic retweets into the real-time information service it has been promised to be. Over the years we have seen flashes of Twitter’s ability to connect the masses around a shared event, from the Super Bowl to the earthquake in Japan. Last week, amid the damage on the East Coast, we saw Twitter’s richest potential yet for sharing both the micro and macro views of culture-defining events – time will tell if this will be the true legacy of Twitter.
Instagram is no longer just a mobile platform. Users can now further socialize their photo-filtering activities through their online profile pages with common social network capabilities such as the ability to follow users, comment and like photos, and edit profiles easily and directly from the Web. Profile pages are available for individuals and brands. Check out Nike’s: http://instagram.com/nike. The platform still wants to keep the service as a mobile-centric one, so it is limiting photo uploads to mobile devices only – for now.
Tumblr Hits 20 Billion Monthly Page Views
The micro-blogging platform has grown substantially from 15 billion monthly page views in early 2012 and is boasting a growth rate of around 30% a year. The company only monetizes a small sliver of its impressions to preserve the proper user experience and community feel. David Karp, CEO of Tumblr, explains the decision to keep advertising limited and to include reblogging as the format for post feedback.
Facebook, Twitter Find Mobile Ad Success with “Native” Approach
We’ve heard over and over that mobile ads are the future, so why are we not developing a separate strategy to support them? According to Sam Grobart, repurposing banner and interstitial ads does not work because they are disruptive to the mobile experience. Facebook and Twitter are in the process of trying to overcome the resistance by developing a “native” strategy that supports mobile ads by tying marketing to content, which in turn enhances the mobile experience. We must realize sooner or later that traditional advertising does not translate well on mobile devices, and a new approach must be taken to support mobile ads.
Report: Twitter to Go Photo-a-Photo with Instagram
In another move to place itself in the photo-sharing frenzy, Twitter is reportedly introducing a set of image filters to its mobile apps. This would be the latest move to position itself against Instagram, including Twitter’s deliberate self-removal from the retro image app’s “find friends” option. Competition over the growing social photo-sharing space continues to heat up as Flickr and Facebook Camera join the fray with filtering options – but with millions of photos shared on the platform each day, Twitter’s entry would have an immediate impact. Now one must wonder: Is Twitter moving away from the simplicity that originally drew users to it?
The mobile device continues to disrupt the path to purchase as consumers increasingly rely on their mobile devices to steer them to the best deal during their shopping experiences. A recent survey by PriceGrabber indicates that nearly one-third (32%) of consumers are planning to download additional applications and that the most popular category of applications that pique consumer interests are related to offers, deals and coupons. Of those consumers who plan to download, 66% are considering price comparison apps that bring online, in-store and competitor prices together at every stage of the path to purchase.
Should Brands Be Meaner in Social?
Often, when brands choose to engage with their customers through social media, they dream of establishing a voice that authentically captures the brand’s personality and treats customers with respect. However, even more often, they will encounter people online that attempt to take advantage of that goal, abusing the patience and hospitality of the customer service team. What would happen if the brand chose to respond to trolls with authentic irritation?
With the population growing and increasingly connected, parents are rushing to claim the electronic versions of their children, and even their unborn children. Some parents, as soon as they decide on a name for their offspring, create websites, Twitter handles and Gmail accounts for their children to ensure that they preserve the highly coveted “firstandlastname.com.” Other parents who are slower to ensure their children’s digital future raise the question of whether their children will want an eponymous digital presence or will they prefer something completely unrelated to their offline identity. Also, will these platforms and technologies even matter when our children come of age to be responsible for their digital identity?
Research: Consumers’ Illusion of Understanding
Not only is ignorance bliss, it may play a key role in determining how consumers respond to advertising. The Journal of Consumer Research found that learning more about a product makes some consumers desire it less. While some consumers desire additional product information, others find that added details expose their existing understanding as shallow and leave them disappointed.
PepsiCo + QR Codes = New Global Campaign
PepsiCo puts QR codes in the center of the “Live for Now” global campaign as well as above the Pepsi logo on cups. Live for Now is a yearlong campaign between Twitter and Pepsi that is aimed at connecting young, tech-savvy consumers to their favorite music artists through multimedia. Using QR codes, Pepsi is using mobile to push video content. The videos feature a recap of entertainment news with segments that are updated regularly.
Since October 2010, the photo-sharing platform Instagram has ballooned to 100 million registered users who have, so far, posted 5 billion photos. And Instagram shows no signs of slowing since its $1 billion acquisition by Facebook. In fact, Instagram is going stronger than ever, with 5 million photos uploaded per day and increasing use as a brand marketing tool. Now we must wonder: What’s next?
When a Map is More Than a Map
Capitalizing on the backlash from iOS6 users’ complaints to Apple’s switch away from Google Maps, the search giant created a microsite to highlight how developers are using the Maps API to build extraordinary experiences, apps and visualizations.
Facebook Hits 1 Billion Users, Releases Ad Campaign
Last week, Facebook released its first ad campaign in celebration of uniting one-seventh of the world’s population. Its new 90-second brand video was created by Wieden & Kennedy and highlights Facebook’s role in connecting people. Facebook will be promoting the video on its social network through promoted posts and sponsored stories to “walk the footsteps of what advertisers go through.”
Tumblr Posts Analytics Platform with Union Metrics
Tumblr has officially named Union Metrics as its preferred third-party analytics tool. This is the first time that Tumblr has given its blessing to track and analyze content across the platform. This is great news for agencies that previously were tracking Tumblr performance from workarounds like adding their blogs to Google Analytics. Union Metrics will be able to track how a Tumblr post performs and propagates across the platform. For now though, Union Metrics is only available on an “invite only” basis; it expects a full public launch in November.
Facebook Opens Online Gift Store
On Thursday, Facebook unveiled Gifts, a new online store and step into the world of social gifting and e-commerce. Tied to event reminders on friends’ birthdays, anniversaries, engagement announcements, etc., users can buy friends gifts for special occasions or just for the heck of it. The move comes after Facebook acquired Karma, the social gifting app upon which Gifts is built.
According to comScore, the average Facebook user spends more than six hours a month on Facebook. With that usage comes opportunities for marketing. And the most efficient ad dollars are spent on men. Men are more responsive to ads than women, clicking at a higher rate. Cost per click for men is lower than women, so ads can be served to more men than women and as a side effect, the same ads can be shown to them more often, increasing recall.
Instagram Surpasses Twitter in Daily Active Mobile Users in U.S.
According to the latest comScore research, Instagram has pulled in 7.3 million active users per day on mobile compared to Twitter’s 6.9 million during the month of August. It was also found that users were engaging with photos longer than they were doing so with tweets. Research also showed that the average Instagram user spent about 257 minutes browsing and using the service versus the 170 minutes spent on Twitter last month.
Mobile Healthcare Could Redefine Doctors’ Role
As consumer adoption of smartphones continues to grow, so, too, does their willingness to use these devices for more personal activities. One such use is collecting and coordinating wellness information through apps from healthcare companies and private companies to lay the foundation for more targeted care. As this behavior becomes more widespread, doctors will soon have access to enormous datasets to mine for patterns and enable more data-driven diagnoses – hopefully leading to much smarter healthcare.
The Future of Television to Include Nintendo
Nintendo’s new Wii U will include an entertainment service called TVii. The service will support cable television, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant at no additional fee. TVii will allow multiple people to have personalized playlists and recommendations stored on the same device. The device also has social network/chat integration and DVR/TiVo functionality. Wii U will go on sale November 18, starting at $299.99.
Square’s prominence in the mobile payment space continues to strengthen as the company announced it processed $8 billion in payments in the past year – a surge from $1 billion in just three years. This is on the heels of Square raking in $200 million in Series D funding, including investments from heavy hitters like Citi Ventures and Starbucks. With this injection of cash, the company hopes to bring its service to international markets. While the mobile payment space is crowded, Square is the 8,000,000,000-pound gorilla. With endorsements from big brands/investors, it’s quickly putting more distance between itself and competitors like COIN, GoPago and even PayPal.
CP+B goes against the grain again (remember Whopper Sacrifice, where friends sacrificed friends for a Whopper) with The Society of Good Taste, which calls to few and accepts even fewer. The Society is a members-only club on Grey Poupon’s Facebook page that vets membership by determining applicants’ good taste based on their Facebook activity, education, museum visits, reading lists, city of residence and friendships. Rejected applicants are encouraged to reapply after “enriching” their profiles. In further social penetration, the agency moved the mustard company’s brand page to Pinterest (www.kraftbrands.com/greypoupon will redirect to Pinterest). Sadly, this writer was rejected for admission to The Society of Good Taste, an indication that a sea change in friendships is in order.
Facebook Cuts Reach Generator
Facebook is streamlining its advertising offerings, cutting Reach Generator and recommending that advertisers use Promoted Posts to reach their target with social messaging. With Promoted Posts, brand pages can extend reach on a per-post basis, with pricing scaled to the number of fans the advertiser would like to reach. It’s available through Facebook’s self-serve ad platform, meaning each community manager sets their own promoted posts – but many ad partners offer built-in solutions.
When Twitter Fans Steer TV
Comments posted on Twitter and other social media sites about television shows have done nothing but increase in the past year, to 75.5 million in July from 8.8 million a year ago. Believe it or not, Twitter is pressuring some producers to tweak their scripts. Writers of USA Network’s drama “Covert Affairs” framed the final episode especially around questions that fans had asked on Twitter. While writers are weary of giving fans total control, one thing is clear, Twitter cannot be ignored.
Flipboard is monetizing its 20 million users by introducing a “social catalog” for brands, starting with Levi’s. Flipboard is running Levi’s ads on feeds for nine publications: Vanity Fair, Glamour, Details, Elle, Marie Claire, Esquire, ESPN, Fast Company and Rolling Stone. Also, a branded “magazine” on Flipboard will allow users to shop the Levi’s fall collection and share images on their social networks.
Branded Apps Impact Business
Brands and their marketers need to rethink the role digital plays in shopper behavior as the use of mobile technology in-store not only accelerates, but becomes a reliable resource for driving incremental sales. New research from Ryan Partnership revealed that 21 percent of shoppers cited branded shopping apps as the reason for making additional unplanned purchases while shopping.
How Businesses Win in Amazon’s World
In an online shopping world where a one-cent difference in price can mean getting a sale or losing out to a competitor, competing on the edge is taxing work. The rise of algorithm-driven dynamic pricing for those selling their goods through Amazon has made deal-seeking a full-time job for consumers and a constant battle for margins for the brands selling to them.
Crowdsourced Artificial Intelligence
Researchers at the University of Rochester have created a new crowd-powered chat system called Chorus. Using an instant message interface, Chorus generates responses based on crowdsourced replies and suggestions. Tests showed that the end user experiences a conversation that is indistinguishable from chatting with a real person, even for long conversations. Perhaps most impressive is Chorus’ ability to engage in back-and-forth conversation using colloquial language, something Apple’s Siri and Al chatbots have struggled to do. Chorus could lead to real-world applications such as artificial intelligence tech support.
Study Finds Information Overload Isn’t a Thing
Many experts believe that the “always-on” media environment that social media has created has “overwhelmed” audiences and is creating a society of antisocial Facebook addicts more interested in status updates than face-to-face communication. According to a study by a trio of researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, that isn’t the case. Participants noted in the study that they felt “empowered” and “enthusiastic” about the volume of information at their fingertips, not overloaded. When it comes to social media, participants said that it’s the quality of information that turns them off, not the quantity.
Moms Mobilize for Back-to-School Day
Mobile-device-wielding moms are using their devices to relieve the stress of preparing their kids for the first day of school. Nearly nine in 10 say they turn to their phones to reduce the anxiety in planning for that first day, according to a recent study from the IAB and Meredith’s Parents Network. Of moms with two kids and a smartphone, 88% were more inclined to agree that smartphones make being a mom easier.
Multiscreen Behavior, Quantified
This large study from Google and Ipsos reveals the active session length (smartphone is the shortest), overall time with the medium and how devices are used sequentially as well as simultaneously. Perhaps the most shocking result from the study (very little of this is shocking) – users are more engaged with what interests them than ever before and have multiple outlets to access that content. Marketers must now find ways to reach them in the most preferred environment for both their target and their brand.
A study conducted by GfK finds that Western consumers are stuck in an “analog” mindset, whereas consumers in emerging markets are more likely to own and use web-connected “smart” TVs. China has the highest penetration of connected TVs at 44%, compared to just 11% penetration in the U.S. The study also shows that social TV has yet to fully take off, partially because viewers claim discovery is more important than program interaction. GfK suggests that broadcasters need to integrate their social elements “far more engagingly into the fabric of the program.”
Facebook Cracks Down on Insincere “Likes”
Facebook is currently ramping up efforts that will increase automated efforts to remove “likes” on pages that may have been gained by means that violate Facebook’s terms of service. For pages, this means that likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users or purchased in bulk will be removed. Facebook is expecting that less than 1% of a page’s fan count will be trimmed down as a result of the new automated effort.
With the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, RetailNet Group has compiled a list of the 10 most exciting trends for online shopping in 2012. The trends highlighted in the report showcase how retailers need to focus on more than inventory and fulfillment of online orders, and more closely align with in-store marketing efforts through social and mobile.
How Heavy Sharers Boost Facebook Pages
Users are frequently drawn to brand Facebook pages by high activity (liking, commenting, sharing). Top-performing pages have higher percentages of super-fans, a group of brand advocates that are apt to share posts with their personal networks. “One way brands can boost fan growth and engagement is by finding their advocates and super fans, and then determining what type of content actually gets them engaged with the brand page.”
Tweet to Unlock Free MTV Concerts
The MTV Music Experiment is back with a series of free concerts. The details of each concert are revealed when specific social media milestones are reached. Milestones are based on URL shares and #musicexperiment tweets. For each concert, a map powered by Omnigon Communications gradually zooms in until details of the venue are revealed.
YouTube has made it easier to find serialized content by adding a guide for episodes of a video series. A listing of further episodes is displayed next to the video window on a video’s page and a link is shown that leads to a show’s channel or main page. Whereas before YouTube users had to conduct a search for content or use a link embedded in the video’s description, now YouTube users can access all available episodes. This makes original YouTube content more amenable to advertisers since they can now more reliably target popular videos and channels.
Second-Screen Viewing Is the New Black
GetGlue, Discovery Channel and WWE have all released second-screen companions in the past week. The social TV platform GetGlue released an update that features an individualized guide to shows/movies/sports that incorporates recommendations, relevant content and social discovery. Dallas-based Bottle Rocket Apps developed second-screen experiences for both Discovery Channel and WWE. The Shark Week Plus app accompanies Discovery Channel’s Shark Week programming, while WWE’s new app will create a second-screen experience for Monday Night Raw.
Status Updates Died: 36% of Tweets Are Photos
What are those Twitter users tweeting about these days? That’s easy – photos of the world around them. According to new research from Diffbot, the status update only accounts for about 7% of all tweets. The almighty visual, in this case a photo, makes up 36% of all tweets. This aligns with a growing consumer preference within mainstream social network experiences and content destinations. Internet users prefer to capture, share and consume their experiences visually.
Digital Installation to Deter Drunk Driving
Interactive technologies continue to redefine physical spaces. In a new installation, Allianz Insurance has developed a mirror that delays reflections back to the subject, causing a disorientation that mimics the delayed reaction speed induced by alcohol consumption. The concept has been deployed in bars to shock people into recognizing their impairments before getting into their vehicles.
With “Embedded Quotes,” publishers can leverage the Quora community for content on their sites. This change in the platform expands Quora’s visibility beyond its users and is another step in a growth strategy that started earlier this month with its “Views” product. “Views” originally forced all users to have their usernames displayed after reading a Quora article. After a user backlash, the company amended its “Views” policy to display after users have read questions, answers or posts, but not for other users’ feeds.
Your Deleted Facebook Photos Can Now Be Gone Forever
Nothing ever truly disappears from the Internet, or does it? Facebook privacy concerns are nothing new, but now they have gotten a little more manageable. A new photo storage system is capable of removing deleted photos from Facebook servers within about two days.